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NAMI seeks nominees for new ‘Heroes’ awards

News and notes from Pasco County
Pasco County community news [TMCCARTY80 | Tara McCarty]


AARP offers driver course for seniors

The AARP Smart Driver Course will be offered at the following locations: March 16 at Hugh Embry Library, 14215 Fourth St., Dade City; and March 20 at Land O’ Lakes Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes.

The course is open to drivers 50 and older who, upon completion, may receive a discount on their auto insurance premiums. The certificate is valid for three years. The cost for the course is $15 for AARP members (bring membership card) and $20 for nonmembers. Space is limited; preregistration is required. Contact Bev Cogdill at (813) 907-3908 for class times and to register.

NAMI seeks ‘Heroes of Hope’ nominees

The National Alliance on Mental Illness/NAMI Pasco County is accepting nominees for its “Heroes of Hope” awards, which will be presented at its inaugural Heroes of Hope gala later this spring.

The gala and awards celebrate and honor those in the community who have gone out of their way to help NAMI fulfill its mission by providing support, advocacy, outreach, and/or education to those with mental health conditions and those who love and care for them.

Nominations are open in five categories: Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year, for a law enforcement or corrections officer who has safely and effectively responded to someone experiencing a mental health crisis using the techniques learned during CIT training; Mental Health Provider of the Year; Youth Voice of the Year, for someone 15 to 25; Volunteer of the Year, for a NAMI Pasco County volunteer; and Mental Health Trailblazer, for a community member who has helped blaze a new trail to benefit individuals impacted by mental illness.

The gala will be at 6 p.m. May 28 at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club in Trinity. Tickets are $40-$45 for individual tickets, $70-$80 for two. Sponsorships are available, from $1,000 to $4,500. Nominations can be made online at For further information, to purchase tickets or for sponsorships, visit the website or email to

Animal Services offers new vaccine

Pasco County Animal Services is now offering leptospirosis vaccinations for dogs at its weekly low-cost vaccine clinics, as well as for all its shelter dogs upon intake.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that causes severe illness in dogs, as well as other animals and humans. When left untreated, it can cause serious and life-threatening damage to the kidneys, liver, brain, lungs and heart. Pets most at risk are those who frequent parks and trails, have access to open/standing water and encounter wildlife.

The vaccination is offered on its own or as a part of a combination vaccine that includes distemper. For pets who have never had the vaccine before, a booster vaccine is required after three weeks.

Animal Services’ clinics are offered from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays at the adoption center, 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O’ Lakes, with no appointment required. For further information, visit or call (813) 929-1212.

Tax offices collecting donations for Hunger Walk

One Community Now’s annual Hunger Walk will be the featured charity for March at the Pasco County Tax Collector’s offices. The Hunger Walk funds the Pack-a-Sack 4 Kids Program, which is the keystone of the food relief efforts of One Community Now.

Donations are being accepted at all five tax office locations throughout the county. For information on One Community Now’s Pack-a-Sack 4 Kids Program, contacyt Patti Templeton at (727) 847-8179 or visit For information on the Pasco County Tax Collector’s charitable giving program, contact Greg Giordano at (727) 847-8179 or visit

SCORE offers small-business seminars

Pasco Hernando SCORE is presenting a series of free small-business seminars:

• Introduction to Business Taxes, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 3, Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

• Launch Your Business with YouTube, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 4, Hugh Embry Library, 14215 Fourth St., Dade City.

• Basic QuickBooks, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 4, Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson. Also 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 24, Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes.

• How to Apply for a Business Loan, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 10, Zephyrhills Public Library, 5347 Eighth St., Zephyrhills. Also 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 26, SMARTstart West Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 4532 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

• How to Really Start Your Own Business, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 12, Hudson Regional Library.

• Starting an Assisted Living Business, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 16, Regency Park Branch Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey.

• Creating a Successful Business Plan, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 17, SMARTstart West Pasco Entrepreneur Center.

To register or for more information, visit and click on the local workshops tab, or call the SCORE office at (727) 842-4638.

Gulfside seeks new volunteers

Gulfside Hospice is looking for individuals to join their team of volunteers to help with a variety of tasks. Gulfside works with volunteers to find out what they like to do, and creates a schedule that works best for them.

Volunteer opportunities include patient care tasks as well as other tasks that do not require working directly with patients. Volunteers can offer companionship to patients at Gulfside Centers for Hospice Care or at the patient’s home, offering respite care to give caregivers a break, singing or playing an instrument for patients, creating art projects for patients and their families and more. Other opportunities outside of patient care include administrative assistance, making crafts and blankets for patients, staffing the Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppes, and helping at community and fundraising events.

Those interested can fill out an application online at For information, contact Laura Wright at (727) 845-5707 or


Course offered to manage falls, balance

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, in collaboration with CARES (Community Aging and Retirement Services), will offer a four-week course, Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, March 4-27, in the back of the Shoreline Cafeteria (Entrance A) at the hospital, 14000 Fivay Road.

The program includes group discussion, problem-solving strategies, videos and gentle physical exercise to help older adults learn positive coping methods to reduce fear of falling and remain active and independent.

There is no cost to participate, but class size is limited and reservations are required. Call (727) 869-5498.


SHINE needs volunteers, host orientation

SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) will offer a volunteer orientation at 10 a.m. March 24 at the Area Agency on Aging/SHINE office, 4111 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. (in third floor conference room). There is a particular need for bilingual volunteers. The orientation will include coffee and breakfast bars.

SHINE is a program through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Volunteers provide free, unbiased, one-on-one insurance counseling and information about Medicare options and prescription drug assistance for elders and their families and caregivers. Volunteers assist seniors in making informed healthcare decisions that work best for them.

To learn more about volunteering, contact SHINE program manager Sue Samson at or (727) 570-9696, ext. 234. For a volunteer application, visit


Chasco’s boat parade taking entries

The New Port Richey Rotary Club is accepting entries for the 2020 Chasco Fiesta Boat Parade on April 4. The parade begins at 1 p.m. at Hooters on Miller’s Bayou in Port Richey and meanders south on the Cotee River, arriving at Sims Park at about 1:45 p.m. The boat parade is open to businesses, schools, nonprofits, organizations, families and individuals.

Boats will be judged for their decorations according to the parade theme, “Roarin’ 20s — Past and Present.” Judging will be based on theme, spirit, originality and use of decorations. Ten cash prizes will be awarded, ranging from $200 to $1,000, and presented to winners at a Rotary awards luncheon April 22 at Spartan Manor.

The entry fee is $25; all entries must be received by March 23. For entry information, contact Amanda at Blackjack Media Group, or (727) 859-6540. Visit

Evening with Anne Frank’s stepsister

An evening with Eva Schloss, a childhood friend and stepsister to Holocaust victim Anne Frank, will be held at 7 p.m. March 23 at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., and a VIP reception will be at 6 p.m.

Schloss will discuss her first-hand account of the discovery and printing of Anne Frank’s famed diary, and glean insight into the life and times of Eva and Ann’s childhood.

Tickets are $15 if purchased by March 9, and $18 after that date. Premium seating is available for $36. VIP seating packages are $125, which includes premium seating and a private reception with Schloss.

Corporate sponsorships are available. For information or tickets, visit or call (727) 376-3366.

Chasco ball takes nominees

The 35th annual Chasco Coronation Ball will be at 6 p.m. March 27 at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave. The ball recognizes local philanthropists for their dedication and commitment to the community with a celebration of nominees that culminates in a “Royal Coronation” of the 2020 King Pithla and Queen Chasco.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind’s blind babies, children and teen programs.

Nominations for the 2020 King Pithla and Queen Chasco are being accepted through March 11. Clubs and organizations are encouraged to submit names of deserving community volunteers. Reservations and sponsorships are also being taken. The cost to attend is $125 per person. The deadline for reservations and sponsorships is March 23. Information, reservations and nomination forms are available on the Lighthouse website,


Youngsters can watch bridge-breaking contest

Young children and their families are invited to watch the annual Bridge-Breaking Competition held by Saint Leo University’s Department of Mathematics and Science at 6 p.m. March 5 in the Selby Auditorium at Lewis Hall (just inside the campus main entrance, first building visible on the right), 33701 State Road 52.

The competitors are teams of Saint Leo students who constructed model bridges from lightweight wooden sticks and glue. Faculty members test each bridge to see which one can hold the most weight before it breaks, with the sturdiest bridge declared the winner.

Admission is free. Parking is available in surface lots in the evening, as well as in the campus garage. Guests do not have to stay for the entire contest. Preferred seating is available upon request. Contact Leo Ondrovic in advance at or call (352) 588-7408.


New Kiwanis group forming

A new Kiwanis Club is being formed in the Wesley Chapel area. Kiwanis is an international service club that serves children and local communities, and sponsors service leadership programs such as Key Clubs in high schools, Terrific Kids and K-Kids in elementary schools, and Builders Clubs in middle schools, to name a few.

Anyone interested in learning more and being part of this new Kiwanis Club, contact organizer Ed Anderson at (813) 841-2773.